How I lost my French cruller and rediscovered Hannibal Hamlin

Sam Smith – I was in a Dunkin’ Donut shop in Paris Maine and to my amazement there was still one French cruller left, so I ordered it.   The young woman behind the counter started to put it on a plate but a senior assistant told she couldn’t serve it because it was after 11 am. This struck me as arbitrary and cruel, so I looked at my watch and declared falsely, “No, it’s only 10.59”

The staff didn’t fall for it and so I once again was left without a French cruller. Apparently because they have egg in them, there is a time limit for serving. Or at least this is what I was told by the staff and others later. In any case, the lack of French crullers in Dunkin Donuts has a deeper history as this Boston Globe story outlines.

PS: We were in Paris in part to see the home of Hannibal Hamlin, Lincoln’s first vice president. You can remember this by noting that his bosse’s name was  AbraHamlincoln. Why he didn’t make it to a second term is described in part by Wikipedia:

Hamlin and Lincoln were not close personally, but had a good working relationship. At the time, the Vice President was considered part of the legislative branch in his role as President of the Senate, and so did not attend cabinet meetings; thus, Hamlin did not regularly visit the White House. It was said that Mary Todd Lincoln and Hamlin disliked each other. For his part, Hamlin complained, “I am only a fifth wheel of a coach and can do little for my friends.”

He had little influence in the Lincoln Administration, although he urged both the Emancipation Proclamation and the arming of black Americans.

… In June 1864, the Republicans and War Democrats joined to form the National Union Party. Although Lincoln was renominated, War Democrat Andrew Johnson of Tennessee was named to replace Hamlin as Lincoln’s running mate. Lincoln was seeking to broaden his base of support and was also looking ahead to Southern Reconstruction, at which Johnson had proven himself adept as military governor of occupied Tennessee. Hamlin, by contrast, was an ally of Northern radicals (who would later impeach Johnson). Lincoln and Johnson were elected in November 1864, and Hamlin’s term expired on March 4, 1865.

I can’t prove it but I think it’s reasonable that Hamlin,  years before Humphrey Bogart, told his wife, “But we’ll always have Paris.”


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